Can RHEL5/CentOS5 be run on Intel Haswell-EP (E5-26XX V3) CPUs?

Gary Hanna asked:

We need to upgrade the hardware on some of our CentOS 5.11 servers. From Redhat’s Intel CPUs and Supported RHEL Versions page, I see that the E5-26XX V2 CPUs are supported. However, the E5-26XX V3 (Haswell-EP) CPUs are listed as Not Supported.

I would prefer to use the V3 CPUs. Can anyone tell me if Not Supported means that CentOS 5.11 flat-out won’t work? Or, perhaps might they work, but just not be able to take advantage of newer chipset instructions (like AVX2). We plan to upgrade to CentOS 6 or CentOS 7 soon, but not before the server upgrades.

Has anyone successfully run RHEL5/CentOS5 on E5-26XX V3 CPUs?

My answer:

It will run, but it won’t take advantage of any new CPU features. CPU upgrades are rarely or never an issue; where you will run into problems is with other hardware in the new server, such as storage and network drivers.

EL5 is in Production 3 phase, meaning no new hardware enablement will be shipped, and Red Hat expects existing servers to be virtualized onto newer hardware running a newer version of the distribution.

You might be better advised to use the new server(s) as a testbed for your CentOS 7 upgrade, or run C7 on them and virtualize C5 under it, or both.

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